Being in the journalism business has its perks but also its fair share of occupational hazards. Writing a breaking news story or connecting with an athlete or entertainer, one either finds a steady stream of admirers or sometimes way too many haters. It’s what you deal with and not so much different from any occupation anywhere in society. Sometimes the criticism is so far from the truth, there needs to be a quick response to clear the air just for general principal. Buddy and colleague Branson Wright wanted to get a few things off his chest regarding some inaccuracies being spread around the journalism world anonymously in attempts to destroy his credibility which up to this point could be compared to anyone who is doing the damn thing right.
Shake ‘em off Branson, shake ‘em off bruh…
Michael Tillery: Before we get into the craziness, what’s going on with the blog?
Branson Wright: It’s a very wonderful opportunity with the blog especially with the way newspapers are going currently. I have an opportunity to get into the World Wide Web and blog. It’s been a learning experience. I’m still improving, still experimenting but starting to find a niche and get a handle on the blog. Most of all, I’m enjoying it. Early next year I will host a live sports round table on Cleveland.com and I’m looking forward to the fun.
MT: How do you think the format differs from writing in print with an inch min or max?
BW: With newspapers and as a beat writer I was going out and covering an event and getting quotes based on my observation. The blog is a lot more opinion on my end and it just gives you a lot more freedom and space to write.
You don’t have the freedom of being out and about as a beat writer, but you have the freedom where you can talk and write about various sports and search other blogs and sites to see what everyone else is doing. It helps you know what’s going on out there-what people are thinking-and to get a pulse of what’s happening and gives you an opportunity to give your opinion on different subjects.
MT: Would you suggest for every journalist who has made a career in newspapers to find out how to write a blog?
BW: Oh absolutely. It’s the way things are going. At least write beyond the newspaper. It leads to writing on the Internet. That’s where everyone is going. We are seeing my fellow brothers and sisters in the business around the country getting laid off. We had layoffs here at the Plain-Dealer. There are other ways of remaining a journalist.
MT: Now let’s get into the issues. Do you have a production company under the guise of producing a documentary on the Cleveland Cavaliers this season?
BW: No. No. It’s funny you asked that. There have been rumors and even some articles out there about me having a production company and producing a documentary on the Cavs.
No, I don’t have that much money to be able to do something like that. The only thing I am doing is the documentary on Dwight Anderson. The Plain-Dealer knows about it. It’s been a goal of mine since high school and I’m trying to get that done.
MT: Would you ever double dip and write for another paper with out proper consent or use the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s financial resources for anything not connected to your job responsibilities?
BW: No of course not. I work for the Plain-Dealer and that’s my primary responsibility. I’ve freelanced as you and anyone else has in this business. It’s a thing where you have to ask permission. I’ve freelanced for ESPN the Magazine as well as different newspapers all over the country. First and foremost is my job for the Plain-Dealer. Once that is done then I’m free to freelance for anyone else as long as it doesn’t conflict with my primary responsibilities with the Plain-Dealer.
MT: Why do you think there are these rumors out there about you? Why are there these faceless columns with all kinds of condescending words about you doing this and you doing that?
BW: I don’t know. I guess as long as you are living there are going to be people who say negative things about you. That’s not something I worry about as long as the truth is out there. It’s important that my integrity is outstanding. What’s their motivation? I don’t know. That’s something for them to deal with. If that gets them excited to say negative things about me then that’s on them. I know the truth. I know what my goals are and I’ll continue to move forward.
MT: Can we address the B.R. Wright on the byline?
BW: I have nothing to hide. Hide from what? From time to time, I’ve used B.R. Wright (my first two initials) on bylines when I write something outside of my department. I’ve done this since college. I have B.R. Wright bylines at The Plain Dealer and at The Grand Rapids Press, my former paper.
MT: How competitive is this field? You speak of the motivation…this is for the people who don’t know about the backstabbing in this business. You unfortunately have writers out there who would do anything to break a story or become the top writer at their respective paper. Could this be the motivation of some of your “adversaries”?
BW: I don’t know. Yes this is a competitive field that we’re in, but there are people who do say nice things about me as well. You just have to know the truth. Don’t get too low or too high. Don’t listen to all the negative stuff and don’t listen to all the praise. You just have to focus, maintain and do the best you can.
MT: There are also rumors about you scalping tickets. Would you like to address this and if so, where did these rumors come from?
BW: I’m not sure where that came from. I’m really not concerned where that came from. I do not, have not and will not scalp tickets.